The Wall Street Journal article highlights how food choices can damage or improve health. They recommend several foods, which coincidentally, I often consume. These include oily fish (salmon, sardines, and mackerel are my favorites); skim milk with my oatmeal for breakfast; and lots of veggies and whole grains or low-glycemic carbs (like sweet potatoes and brown rice).
The article asks:
What do heart disease, diabetes, Alzheimer’s, stroke and cancer have in common? Scientists have linked each of these to a condition known as chronic inflammation, and they are studying how high-fat foods and excess body weight may increase the risk for fatal disorders…
Inflammation is the body’s natural response to injury and outside irritants. But when the irritants don’t let up, because of a diet of high-fat foods, too much body fat and smoking, for example, the immune system can spiral out of control and increase the risk for disease. Experts say when inflammation becomes chronic it can damage heart valves and brain cells, trigger strokes, and promote resistance to insulin, which leads to diabetes. It also is associated with the development of cancer.
“We’ve learned that abdominal fat tissue is a hotbed of inflammation that pours out all kinds of inflammatory molecules,” Dr. Libby says. The most important step patients can take is to lose excess weight, which can reduce inflammation in a matter of weeks or months, he says.
I recently had my CRP (high sensitivity C reactive protein) measured, and it’s been in the low-to-normal range since losing weight:
What can you do to lower your CRP?
A number of nutritionists and physicians have developed anti-inflammatory diets. Christopher Cannon, a Harvard professor of medicine, co-wrote “The Complete Idiot’s Guide to the Anti-Inflammation Diet.” Dr. Cannon says his recommended diet is based on both the Mediterranean diet and a Healthy Eating Pyramid developed at Harvard University. This encourages consuming whole-grain foods, unsaturated fats such as plant oils, fruits, vegetables, nuts, fish, poultry, eggs and moderate amounts of dairy foods. It also suggests avoiding as much as possible red meat, butter, sweets and white foods such as rice, potatoes and pasta.